“I love lamp.” (Now that I have the attention of the Will Ferrell fans out there…)
That’s about the extent of my conversation skills years ago. I was insecure, awkward, and a terrible conversationalist, mainly because I couldn’t get my mind off of my own self-consciousness long enough to really see the person in front of me. Thankfully, after years of self-development, my vocabulary has extended a bit beyond “I love lamp”, and I have grown to love making new friends.
In my journey over the past ten (or so) years, I’ve read many leather-bound books 😉 and attended countless leadership conferences, and had the pleasure of getting to know so many people of different backgrounds and ages. Being a deep thinker and analyzer, I have made some conclusions about people that I believe are helpful for everyone who seeks to improve their communication skills, and strengthen their relationships.
As summer arrives, doors open, people travel outside of their homes, and the opportunities to meet new people are endless. If the thought of making new friends and bumping into old ones makes you queezy, have no fear! These six truths are going to free you up to friend like a boss! So here you go– 6 things you should know about him, or her. (I will alternate the use of “him” and “her” to make it fair)
1. He is very interesting.
There are things about him that will amaze you, if you are willing to dive deep enough into conversation and turn your focus away from yourself long enough to get to really know him. Maybe he has a hidden talent. Maybe he has saved a life. Maybe he has done something adventurous that you hope to do someday. You will never know unless you care enough to discover him.
2. She has pain in her past.
I have yet to meet a person who has not encountered something tragic, heartbreaking, or life-altering that has shaped who they are today. Sometimes she will let you know these things shortly after meeting her, but most often, you will have to earn her trust first, prove that you are someone who will understand without judgement, and love her anyway. Only then will she reveal these painful pieces of her past that have made her who she is.
3. He can teach you something.
We have a tendency to want to show off what we know to others, but a wise person knows that they can learn something from everyone, regardless of age and background. There are things he knows that you don’t know, because his life experience was different than yours. Don’t assume you have something to offer. Assume he has something to offer you.
4. She wants encouragement.
We can often assume certain people don’t “need” encouragement, because of their status, popularity, or leadership. We can assume they don’t want it from us, because we are “beneath” them, and they appear to “have it all together”. We can assume they don’t want encouragement because they are so callous, and their relational walls are a mile high. But the truth is, everyone appreciates an encouraging word now and then, especially when it comes across genuine and sincere.
5. He has a heart.
Life can be tough, and years of trials can toughen him up, hiding any evidence that there is a heart underneath the front he puts up. But regardless of how strong he may seem, he feels. He hurts. He has emotions. And he needs your love and acceptance just like anyone else does. If you are willing to consider his heart, you will become someone he can be real around, and you will find a true friendship.
6. She is extremely valuable.
What a tragedy it is to treat her as if she is less important than the celebrity you adore. If only you knew her, really knew her, you would realize her incredible worth. She is worth spending time with. She is worth getting to know. She is worth sacrificing your own ego to build hers up. She probably doesn’t know her worth either, but you may be just the person to help her discover it.
It is my prayer and hope that these truths encourage you to look at people differently. Each and every person you come in contact with today is a treasure waiting to be discovered.
If you are brave enough to apply these truths, your reward will be deeper relationships, long-lasting friendships, and a greater sense of your own uniqueness and self-worth, as you add value to others. God bless you!